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I know that a straight F semester sounds despicable, but hear me out please. I got hit by a car and that alone caused me hospitalizations that led me to a straight F semester.

I'm a physics/ astrophysics major, econ minor. I love physics so much. I don't know what year as I've transferred programs a few times. I'm probably year 3-ish :) Anyway, I got into a major fight with a biology prof last semester. He basically set me aside for bullying because I am a student with disabilities, having been hit by a car and all. I've since had to escalate the matter in ascending order, from profs I confided in to the department head to the assoc. dean. However, no one holds any remorse, even though the individuals with a conscience all feel really bad about what happened. Since then, I've been going to dark places. My trust in others has been shattered. I really want to change universities, but I'm afraid that the chances may be slim to none based on that one straight F semester.

I'll add that I'm a more mature student who's run businesses and held lots of real-world musical experience too. I'm again just so distraught that, no matter how kind the physics and especially math profs are at my school, I just want to get out of here. I obviously need to get a master's degree, at least, to become employable in physics too. (It's a rare person who can get a physics-related job with a BSc alone, but congrats to those individuals, nonetheless).

Has anyone heard of such a situation? I've had strong academic semesters too. I'm thinking that I'd have to speak with a dean to explain the fact that I'd been hit by a car and that had caused me straight F's.

EDIT: Thank you everyone for any valuable feedback and advice. I've read your comments and I'm taking them into serious consideration. A few things I would like to add please:

  • I will change the name after 30 days because I cannot change it before then. Additionally, I would never write a professor's name online but I accept responsibility for a lack of anonymity at this time, being new to this website and such. (I've lurked in the past).

  • I go to a Canadian university, so grades matter, but only by so much. This is a top 10 institution in the country, but we don't really have rankings or prestigious classes of universities such as Ivey Leagues up here. Still, I feel it might be wishful thinking to apply elsewhere with F's.

  • Lastly, for now, this is a bio prof who knows how I've complained about him as I forwarded him all documentation in fairness to the process. I don't have to see this prof again, but I do acknowledge that it can be shaky grounds to burn bridges with a professor around my institution. I just feel that the alternative of suffering in silence would have been quite unbearable.

Thanks again for responses or feedback.

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    It sounds like you likely need the assistance of a medical professional, if you've had a physical injury that's caused disruption in your mental health - that's not something we can really provide specifics to help with except to urge consulting with someone who can help.
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 8, 2023 at 17:41
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    Most schools have something called a "medical leave of absence," where a severe health problem is sufficient cause to remove/eliminate all grades for a semester. I would encourage you to investigate that option. Given you shifted from non-F to entirely F in the semester of the accident, the case should be fairly clear cut. Mar 8, 2023 at 17:48
  • This is a bit too personal if your ID here is your real name. I've flagged it for moderator intervention.
    – Buffy
    Mar 8, 2023 at 18:00
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    Another reason we might not be able to help with this question is that you seem to be asking about undergraduate admissions (as a transfer applicant to another undergraduate program). This is normally handled by admissions officers, not by the academic staff, and so is really outside our bailiwick.
    – cag51
    Mar 8, 2023 at 18:28
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    Tangential to the question, but... I looked up "despicable" in a dictionary just to be sure, and I think you really need to let go of the idea that failing some courses is indicative of some kind of character flaw. Sometimes (as in your case), it's the result of heavy-duty extenuating circumstances, and even when there are no extenuating circumstances, sometimes it just happens without anyone necessarily doing anything blameworthy. Mar 9, 2023 at 21:51

2 Answers 2

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If you have a straight F semester as the result of a car crash, I would investigate the possibly of applying for a “retroactive administrative withdrawal” for that semester. This is something that the Dean of Students office would handle (or be able to refer you to the correct person to handle). This would replace the F grades for that semester with W grades on your transcript. Such a transcript adjustment would likely make it easier to apply elsewhere. Good luck!

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Honestly I think your chances are slim unless you can resolve the issues with your current university. The medical issues leading to failures should be one that can be fixed in any reasonable place.

A fight with a professor might be more serious and might make it difficult to get good letters of recommendation unless resolved. One possible resolution is to sidestep an unreasonable faculty member through the department, though they may be due an apology, depending on how the "fight" played out. You don't (and shouldn't) describe that. Your comment that no one shows remorse is troubling, however, and something you need to resolve.

You might even need to sit down with a dean along with a lawyer and discuss what options there are. I'm not suggesting a law suit, but advice from a lawyer might be needed.

Some places will also have an office that advocates for students. Perhaps they can help. The best case is to get the failing grades erased and to reach a state of peace with the faculty member. That will put you in a very different place.

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  • Thank you so much for your comment. I'll only add that he's a bio prof and I'm in physics/ astrophysics so fortunately I'll never have to see this one again. I only fought with him because had had been picking on me for bullying. To be honest, I find it just a bit harsh that you flagged my post for removal due to my name being here. I'm obviously new to the website and thus didn't mean to break any rules or anything. Sorry if I offended anyone. At any rate, I appreciate any sincere feedback very much. I've read through all recommended feedback.
    – user168327
    Mar 10, 2023 at 20:18
  • It wasn't intended to be harsh or negative. But some things said here can cause blowback in the larger world so we value anonymity for saying things that might be sensitive. You broke no rules, but I worried that you might be putting yourself at risk.
    – Buffy
    Mar 10, 2023 at 20:24
  • For sure, thank you for the clarification Buffy. I did just attempt to change my online name but it said that there's a 30-day policy for wait times so I accept any responsibility for having my name on here. I guess I didn't notice it and hopefully others wouldn't notice it too, but again, I'm happy to change the name and to take that into account. I just don't want to delete the question at this time when others have written valuable advice.
    – user168327
    Mar 10, 2023 at 22:18

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